Ever since Brett watched his loving grandmother allow his stern grandfather to banish him from their lives for coming out, he has made his own way in the world. He loves the water, often finding his ultimate Zen space while swimming. But recently, the ocean is not a place Brett can find peace, but one where strange and disturbing things are happening. The idea he is hallucinating images in the water is scary, but when Brett feels a hand grabbing his ankle and then watches the water catch on fire, things become right down terrifying. Maybe it’s the stress of finding out his grandfather has passed away and the longing to see his grandmother once again. But after a disturbingly violent encounter with a stranger at his favorite Mexican restaurant, Brett is left more confused than ever. He is rescued by a young man, Finn, who is more than he appears, and with his help Brett soon begins to unravel the mystery of who he really is and the lies he has been told.
Finn and his family take Brett in after realizing that he knows virtually nothing about who he really is and even less about the world of paranormal creatures that surround him. They will help him after he is viciously attacked and then stalked by his attacker. Finn will introduce Brett to a whole new supernatural world–one filled with werewolves, vampires, nymphs, and more. He will also fall in love with Brett and feel that love returned, but that love may not last…
Brandon Witt has re-published Submerging Inferno, the first novel in his Men of Myth series. As far as a starter with more to follow, this book is seriously compelling. The characters are heavily flawed—despite being of the supernatural bent. There is no real happy ending here yet, but a cliffhanger that will either push you to pick up book two or walk away with an unfinished plot. For me, there are some very well written characters in this story that may spend a bit too much time waffling over what step to take next and just where their relationship might go in the future, but they still stay really true to themselves through the entire book.
Brett alternately makes me either want to beat some sense into him or hug him. Lots of traumatic and terrible things happen to this guy, not the least of which is initially being rejected by his conservative Christian grandparents who are raising him when he reveals he is gay. As a result, the guy is very much a loner who has built up a pretty strong wall around his heart. After Brett is attacked, Finn steps into his life and becomes many things: a tutor about the supernatural world that surrounds them, a compatriot who is willing to fight alongside Brett as he attempts to find and destroy the one who hurt him, and a lover who definitely feels deeply for Brett by novel’s end.
But Brett often becomes paralyzed by the fears that plague him and he puts aside his feelings for Finn because he is so caught up in discovering more about himself, an understandable, yet frustrating mission. He has an incredibly difficult time making up his mind as to what their future will be—or even if they have one–and yet within a week of meeting, they are both declaring their love for each other. There is also way too much dialoguing about whether the two of them will make it as a couple. In addition, there are often great lulls in the action, followed by a frenetic spate of events. This made the pacing feel very uneven. Also, be forewarned as there is an on-page sex scene that is non-consensual, even though it may seem that is not the case. One that the character gets over way too quickly for my liking, as well.
However, as action-adventure, paranormal novels go, I think Submerging Inferno stands the test of time and the cliffhanger ending sets the reader up for the next novel in the series quite nicely. For me, this is both an interesting and frustrating novel, one that leaves me ambivalent about continuing the series.